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Land Use, Housing & Zoning

212 5th Avenue, application for certification pursuant to Zoning Resolution Section 15-30(b), for minor modification of the rooftop recreation space requirement of Section 15-12 of the Zoning Resolution.

At the monthly meeting of Community Board Five on Thursday, May 14, 2015, the Board passed the following resolution with a vote of 37 in favor, 0 opposed, 1abstaining, 1 present but not entitled to vote:

WHEREAS, 212 Fifth Avenue Venture LLC (Applicant) seeks to convert 212 Fifth Avenue from a commercial to a residential building at a residential FAR above 12; and

WHEREAS, 212 Fifth Avenue  (aka 2-8 West 26th Street and 1134-1138 Broadway) as a 20-story neo-Medieval commercial building designed by architectural firm Schwartz & Gross and built in 1912-13, located in the Madison Square North Historic District; and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to ZR § 15-12, when converting this building to residential use, 50% of the Building's roof area (4,070 square feet) must be provided as recreation space accessible to all occupants of the Building and their guests, and

WHEREAS, The requirements of ZR § 15-12 result in roof spaces that are heavily used by building residents and consequently benefit the community by keeping proximate parks and open spaces less congested; and

WHEREAS, Pursuant to ZR § 15-30 (b), the Applicant is seeking a minor modification under which the Chair of the City Planning Commission would waive the open space requirement for the roof; and

WHEREAS, With the grant of the waiver, the rooftop open space would become private terraces for two penthouse units; and

WHEREAS, Concerns were expressed that the granting of such a waiver would result in the residents of 46 of the 48 family units in the building no longer having access to the open rooftop space to which zoning entitles them and would consequently make much heavier use of Madison Square Park; and

WHEREAS, The conversion of this building from commercial to residential and the granting of a waiver of the rooftop open space requirement will result in the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District losing nearly all of the annual $16,000 contribution from the commercial assessment, while the public spaces the BID maintains will see heavier use due to the lack of roof access for residents; and

WHEREAS, In response to these concerns, the Applicant has voluntarily agreed to legally commit the property to a mitigation measure, if the waiver is granted, under which the building will make an annual contribution, in perpetuity, of $30,000 each year to the Madison Square Park Conservancy and an annual contribution, in perpetuity, of $20,000 to the Flatiron/23rd Street Partnership Business Improvement District; and

WHEREAS, These annual contributions will rise each year in accordance with increases in the Consumer Price Index; and

WHEREAS, Community Board Five believes that this financial support for the park and public space helps to mitigate the adverse impacts of the grant of the waiver; therefore be it

RESOLVED, Community Board Five recommends approval of the waiver of the rooftop open space requirement conditional upon 212 Fifth Avenue Venture LLC legally binding the property through a recordable restrictive declaration to mitigate the adverse impacts of the waiver through:

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